To all our readers here and abroad:
Hello again! On December 22nd 2009, the Kakuma News Reflector (KANERE) will celebrate its first year of existence. From the day of its creation until now, KANERE has done remarkable work in the fields of local news coverage, information sharing, and international correspondence. Many things have happened, and much has been said of our organization (see “KANERE in the News” for links).
Despite limitations to our smooth performance and operation, we are now polishing our shoes to step into the New Year.
During the last six months, life here in Kakuma Refugee Camp was marked by a few major changes and continuing uncertainty. While insecurity has persisted, one refugee man successfully thwarted an armed robbery by disarming the thugs. Thousands of Somali refugees were relocated to join us in Kakuma from Dadaab Camp; we welcome their arrival and ask them to join our communities and contribute their ideas to KANERE. On the health front, a cholera outbreak currently threatens thousands, and the controversial Mix-Me nutritional supplement is going through another round of testing.
I would like here to remember the unforgettable work done by the volunteer journalists, artists, editors, and supporters of KANERE. Their determination and patience sustained our good efforts and kept the free press alive during the difficult incidents encountered in the course of this year.
A special thanks goes out to all our supporters wherever they may be in the world, because their support has assured us that our work is meaningful and that others are watching. We hope that these connections will strengthen and grow through the next year ahead of us.
I welcome your comments, contributions, and experiences from all over the planet. Please direct all correspondence to myself at Kakuma.firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy holidays to all, and a prosperous New Year 2010!
The KANERE Editor
“I fear the man who shot me can still find me in the streets of Nairobi.”
-M.M., Darfurian refugee who fled insecurity in Kakuma Camp and is now in Nairobi
“The time to act is now. People won’t enjoy alcohol when our people are dying. After all, everybody is at risk.”
– Sudanese group leader on the recent cholera outbreak that caused public bars and eateries to close
“How it is great to see yourself out of the invisible enclosure made with barbed wire. How would feel if you are kept in such a place where you can’t see exactly where the outlet is?”
-Refugee poet in “Illusion”
“Why is it that instead of the UN getting tough on the promoters of wars like arms manufacturers and suppliers, it concentrates on their victims, the refugees? Why is it that the UN is less interested in dealing with the causes of wars than with their effects?”
-Refugee journalist on the question of the UN’s efficacy
“I have a good message to take back to Nairobi. The conditions are not favorable and there is pain, but I can also see there’s hope.”
-Mr. Jackson Wachira, the KISWCD principal, in a graduation ceremony speech at Kakuma
“When it comes to the issue of shelter, it was good at Daadab, but here [in Kakuma] we couldn’t even turn up. So we exchange our food rations for poles so as to erect tents with the materials.”
-N.R., a Somali new arrival to Kakuma and mother of three children
An accidental house fire sparked an assault on KANERE’s editor, who demands justice. The editor believes that the attackers could be motivated by his involvement in the refugee free press and that they had ill motives prior to his assault on 10th November 2009.
Cholera broke out in Kakuma as water shortages in the camp became insurmountable. Local breweries and eateries were ordered to shut down their businesses for ten days in an attempt to curb infection. Camp Zones Four, Kakuma Four and local villages of Kalobeyei, Natiir, Nalemsokoni and Nakirkodapal are strongly affected by the epidemic.
Police crashed a party in the Lutheran World Federation NGO compound of Kakuma Refugee Camp, citing loud noise disturbances and threatening to arrest the DJ.
Somali refugees newly arrived from Dadaab Camp encounter challenges and opportunities as they chart new ways of living in Kakuma Camp.
UNHCR offers relocation to Dadaab Camp as “protection” against armed attacks on refugees living in Kakuma. In separate incidents, a string of recent attacks has threatened refugees living in the Congolese, Multinational, Burundian, and Zone One communities.
Amid hardship, refugees demonstrate the ability to achieve their goals in higher education. A graduation ceremony recently honored distance-learning students of UNISA and KISWCD with both diploma and degree certificates.
Guest Contribution by Cayce Pack, New York City, USA.
Six years of work in refugee resettlement and several semesters of human rights studies seemed as void as the blank pages in their books. The sun was violent in its afternoon heat and a crowd of adolescent faces perplexed in questions surrounded me…
Kakuma refugees express their concerns about the Mix-Me nutritional supplement provided by the World Food Program and UNHCR, demanding healthy, natural additions to the food ration basket.
Anyone can feel truly happy in whatever circumstances they may encounter. Though we cannot control our environments or what happens around us, we can control what we choose to think about.
After considering how common economic reasoning may apply to the African context, the author concludes that Africans suffer not because of poor resources, young histories, colonial legacies, or international interference—but because Africans themselves hold poor attitudes towards development.